In 2014, a Deloitte study showed that social media is the number one communication medium for manufacturers and print is second. This year, print has dropped to fourth, overtaken by bloggers.
"Everyone has access to digital media to find out anything they want," says Roberto Mararo, CEO and Designer for Mararo. "In social media and digital there are ways of measuring your returns on investment, all for a fraction of the cost."
But apart from accessibility and reach, engagement also factors in highly. "For many years I was the one posting on Facebook and that made an impact because it was the creator speaking directly to the end user," shared Maximilian Busser, Owner and Creative Director of MB&F. "For the first time, I was talking to my customers."
Given its importace right now, many believe that social media will follow the same trajectory as print media. "Over the last 10 years the watch business was good and so the number of magazines multiplied as well," said Su Jia Xian, Founder of SJX. "The same thing will happen with social media. As it is now, we are already seeing more and more blogs. This increase is because more and more money is going into these medium. Right now this is where brands want to be; online, where they can engage with the buyers better than print media."
Despite the current trend where social media rules all, print media, they believe, still has a huge role to play, albeit a smaller role for now. "I know a lot of people who are not on Facebook and social media, and they're not over 60-years-old by the way," said Busser. "They said that they are fed up with these constant pounding of information and they are not interested. A lot of people tell me that they see our new product on the newsletter, even though that method is antiquated. You cannot discount something that has governed communication in this world for over 100 years."
"Print media is still important but publishers need to reimagine how they do magazines. That will be the future: social media online and also print media running together" — SU
At the moment though, the watch industry is still trying to grasp how to best use social media to its favour because while the reach and efficiency it possesses is unrivalled, it's also unforgiving. "You have to be careful when it comes to social media," warned Busser. "At the same time, you cannot control anything and all the big corporations that try to control the information have uninteresting information, or a boring corporate message and on social media that does not work. You let social media take ownership and that's scary but you have to let go."
It's clear that watchmakers are still trying to get a feel of what will work on social media and this, as they all agreed, will continue for the next 2-3 years.